Virginia Speeding Defenses

There are a number of defenses to speeding in Virginia due to the fact that the Commonwealth has the burden of proof to show each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. For this reason, it is important that if you receive a citation for speeding you consult with a Virginia speeding ticket lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case and begin planning your defense.  The following is more information on building a defense for speeding and what defenses are may be applicable for your case.

Common Defenses For Speeding

Due to the burden of proof necessary in court there are number of factors that can help you have your infraction reduced or dropped altogether. Some examples of this are where the officer may be mistaken about the speed limit in the area, have an out of date calibration for his or her radar or LIDAR device, or in rare cases have difficulty identifying the vehicle. Additionally, if you speedometer is not correctly calibrated, and the difference can be shown by a calibration from a mechanic, you will in most cases receive credit for the difference.

There are also a number of “equitable” defenses which, while they may not technically be a defense, can nevertheless be persuasive to a prosecutor or judge, having to do with the circumstances of the stop.  Additionally, completing a driver’s improvement course and in some cases doing community service can go a long way to getting the prosecution or the court on your side.

Mitigating Circumstances For Speeding

There can be a number of mitigating or extenuating circumstances when a person that’s found guilty of speeding. The best thing typically is to mention these circumstances to the officer at a time of stop. While they may not provide a legal defense, they may be helpful in persuading a prosecutor or a judge to treat the defendant less harshly. This can include everything from a medical emergency to a crisis of some other kind.

Can You Be Issued a Speeding Ticket For Only Going 10 Miles Over the Limit?

As a practical matter, it’s never safe or advisable to exceed the speed limit in Virginia. While it is true that there are some police officers who will not initiate a stop or write a ticket unless a driver is over a certain speed, there are no department-wide policies on these things. Rather, it’s left up to the discretion of the individual officer.

Whereas it may be true that on one occasion you would not be stopped exceeding the speed limit by 10 miles per hour by one officer, on another occasion you can easily find yourself pulled over and facing charges. This is particularly true in the parts of Prince William County and other areas where the speed limit is 70 miles an hour because that mere 10 mph difference will put you at 80, which in Virginia is reckless driving.

Speed Limits in Virginia

The highest speed limit on highways in Virginia is 70 miles an hour. Though some of the highest speeds by drivers occur on I-95, the speed limit there is actually only 60 mph and because it has been designated as a “safety corridor,” fines are double for offenses committed there. One of the big dangers of speeding in the various is that a relatively small percentage above the speed limit can yield to a fairly serious charge.

Any time a person is going 80 miles an hour or more in Virginia, they’re guilty of reckless driving. That means that someone who is exceeding the speed limit in a 70 miles per hour zone by only 10 miles an hour can find themselves charged with a misdemeanor.

The other danger of course is that traveling at very high rates of speed is risky behavior in general, simply because things happen so fast at high speeds.

How To Tell The Speed Limit If There is No Sign

The speed limit for most business and residential areas is 25 mph. On secondary roads the limits are 45 mph for trucks and 55 mph for other vehicles.

A maximum speed limit of 35 mph applies to all unpaved roads statewide, as a result of legislation passed by the General Assembly. The road does not have to be posted for these speed limits to apply.